Key Points:

  • You can only ship prescription drugs when it's done by entities that are registered with the DEA
  • Failing to follow due process of mailing prescription drugs in the United States results in possible jail time and a hefty fine
  • Easyship partners with major couriers to mail prescriptions to your intended destination, plus you'll save up to 91% discounted shipping rates

Mailing prescription drugs is something that many business owners and individuals are unsure of how to do. It might be a good way to help out family members, neighbors, customers, or friends who need to have their prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs replenished. However, mailing prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs in the U.S. comes with many pitfalls you need to be aware of.

Luckily, Easyship partners with major couriers to mail prescriptions drugs. That way, you can safely and reliably ship over-the-counter and prescription medications. Plus, users save up to 91% discounted shipping rates on 250+ couriers.

Here’s a closer look at the specifics of mailing medication, so you know how to do it safely and legally!

Table of Contents

Can You Send Prescription Drugs in the Mail?

Mailing prescription drugs are only allowed when it’s being done by entities that are registered with the DEA.

The one situation in which you’re allowed to mail any prescription drugs is when you or the recipient are exempted from DEA registration. Those in the active military, law enforcement, or civil defense are usually exempted from this registration.

However, another instance is when you are sending the medication back to the manufacturer, either as a result of a recall or an error in dispensing the prescription drugs.

Essentially, you can actually send prescriptions through the mail, just as long as you follow due process in mailing the medication. Both postal services like USPS and private couriers such as FedEx stipulate that all applicable Federal, state, and local laws should be strictly followed.

In order to be on the safe side, always make sure you find out as much as possible about the laws governing your state or city, in addition to understanding Federal regulations.

What is the Penalty for Mailing Prescription Drugs?

Notably, there are certain penalties that apply when you fail to follow due process of mailing prescription drugs in the United States. The extent of penalty is determined mostly by the type of prescription medication mailed and your state of residence.

For example, you could potentially be jailed between one and five years for this offense in California. The number of years depends on certain factors, including if the prescription was forged or if there were other people involved in a conspiracy to sell these prescription medications outside legal boundaries.

Every state in the US has its own unique regulations and, as such, it’s important to confirm the standing laws and regulations regarding mailing medications. You can also find out more from the particular shipping courier you intend on using.

How to Send Prescription Drugs Through the Mail

Mailing prescription drugs requires a deep understanding of the Federal, state, and local laws that govern it. Here are the steps you should take in order to mail prescription medications safely and legally.

  1. Visit the courier website and search for content related to shipping prescription medications.
  2. Read up on the rules and regulations applicable to your state of residence, as well as Federal and local laws. This way, you’ll be able to better understand what is legal and what’s not before mailing the medications.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the many codes that are used in regulating the mailing of prescription drugs.
  4. Follow all applicable Federal, state, and local laws and regulations, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970
  5. When actually shipping prescription drugs, make sure the package is properly labeled and addressed to the recipient. For example, if the prescription drugs are being returned to the manufacturer, they should typically be addressed to the registered agent of the manufacturer or directly to the manufacturer itself

Mailing Prescription Drugs with FedEx

Individuals can only mail prescription drugs via FedEx when it's done by entities registered with the DEA. Plus, FedEx only allows you to send a 90-day supply when mailing prescription drugs.

For domestic and international shipments, importation of prescription drugs for personal use is prohibited unless FDA approved. You'll also need the following information on the commercial invoice in order to mail prescription drugs:

  • Full name, address, and phone number of the recipient's physician
  • Name and address of drug manufacturer
  • Quantity of the prescription drug
  • A copy of a valid doctor's prescription
  • Type of packaging
  • Type of medical condition being treated for use of prescription drugs
  • Dosage strength
  • Copy of passport for non-resident consignee's

Mailing Prescription Drugs with UPS

You'll want to make sure you're always following US laws and regulations when you're sending prescription drugs. But before you mail prescription drugs with UPS, you'll need to provide the following information:

  • Name and address of the drug manufacturer
  • Copy of original prescription
  • Clearly state the intended use of the medication (personal or commercial)
  • For international shipments, the commercial invoice must contain a list of medical ingredients and the scientific name of the medication

Similar to FedEx, you can only import 90-days' worth of medication into the US with UPS.


Mailing Prescription Drugs with USPS

You must be an authorized dispenser (i.e. pharmacist or medical practitioner) in order to send prescription drugs domestically with USPS. Without medical licensing and proper documentation, you cannot mail prescription drugs.

The mailer is responsible for the following if permitted to send prescription drugs:

  • Ensuring compliance with US laws and USPS regulations
  • Being aware of the characteristics of the specific prescription drug such as its toxicity or flammability

Mailing Prescription Drugs with DHL

Unfortunately, DHL will not ship packages that contain prescription drugs. While each courier has its own rules and regulations, you can speak to a DHL representative to discuss your options further.

Though DHL restricts mailing prescription drugs, only FDA-approved vendors and distributors can ship and transport prescription drugs. Authorized medical professionals are also able to do, given they have the correct documentation.

How Easyship Can Help

Whether you’re shipping prescription drugs to your customers, loved ones, friends, or colleagues, it’s very important that you follow the laws and regulations that guide mailing prescriptions or over-the-counter medications.

Easyship partners with couriers that can safely and reliably ship over-the-counter and prescription medications. Sign up today to access more than 40 global couriers with discounted rates that can help you ship prescription drugs safely, affordably, and legally.

Looking to simplify your shipping flow and grow your online store? Easyship is the market-leading shipping and logistics platform for ambitious eCommerce entrepreneurs. Our unbeatable courier network secures shipping discounts with top couriers, including:

  • Save up to 65% off USPS First Class Package rates
  • Save up to 89% off USPS Priority Mail rates
  • Save up to 50% off UPS® Ground shipping costs
  • Save up to 76% off UPS Worldwide Saver® rates
  • Save up to 91% off DHL eCommerce services

That's not all – our suite of user-friendly shipping tools is designed to upgrade your shipping process and create a delivery experience customers love. Some of our most popular features include:

  1. Shipping Rate Calculator: Compare shipping rates from over 250 couriers in just a few easy clicks for free! Pick from the best value, cheapest and fastest for your exact order
  2. Courier Comparison Tool: Dive deeper into shipping services offered by each courier to find the most economical shipping method for your unique needs
  3. Insurance Coverage: Enjoy peace of mind with up to $10,000 in insurance coverage.
  4. Real-time Tracking: Keep your customers in the loop with branded tracking emails and automated alerts, maintaining visibility throughout the delivery journey

Mailing Prescription Drugs FAQ

Are pharmacies allowed to ship medication across state lines?

Yes, pharmacies are allowed to ship medication across state lines through USPS only.

Can you send medicine to China by airmail?

Yes, you can send medicine to China by airmail. However, you need shipping documents such as the medicine prescription copy, invoice copy, and sender ID proof.

Do you have to declare prescription drugs at customs?

Yes, you must declare prescription drugs at customs.

If you found this article informative, you may enjoy the following: